Read Caddie Woodlawn's Family Online

Authors: Carol Ryrie Brink

Caddie Woodlawn's Family (21 page)

BOOK: Caddie Woodlawn's Family

“Congratulations, Caddie,” he said, “and don’t be ashamed of your dress, my dear. I’m proud to shake the hand of a girl who can forget her vanity to risk her life for others.”

Caddie looked up at him in pleased surprise, and then down to the blur of faces below her; and suddenly two faces stood out clearly. Mother and Father were sitting side by side, and both of their faces were full of pride and happiness. Even on Mother’s handsome face there lingered not a trace of regret or reproach for the beautiful white dress which Caddie had ruined.

Well, it was a lovely day—a day to remember all one’s life!

Caddie did not roll logs or chase the greased pig, nor climb the greased pole; but even in her bedraggled dress she had a lovely time. And, better than doing it herself, she saw Tom scale the slippery pole and win the ham, and saw Robert Ireton outlast the men from the lumber camps and win the five-dollar gold piece for staying longest on his log. For everyone had agreed that he should not be disqualified from entering the final contest because he had jumped off his log in the morning to go to the assistance of Caddie and Ezra.

In the evening they all rode home on the hayload, tired but content, and as they rode they sang. An early moon was in the sky, and the odors of sweet clover and red clover and new-cut hay and pine mingled like perfume in the clear air.

I’ve been roaming, I’ve been roaming,

By the rose and lily fair,

And I’m coming, and I’m coming,

With their blossoms in my hair.

Over hill and over plain

To my bower back again,

And I’m coming, and I’m coming,

To my bower back again.

And, when the song had drifted away again to silence, Caddie found herself softly humming the other tune which seemed so perfectly to fit the day, and the new, sweet country which they loved so well.

Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him!

Be jubilant, my feet!

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